The Master announced, "I am going to leave you all."
On Chinese New Year of 1993, the Great Master came to Gold Mountain Monastery, and the scene became enormously blissful and cheery. Buddhist followers congregated there in large numbers; everyone was anxious to bow to the Master and listen to his New Year speech. Normally, the Great Master delivered his speech right after lunch time, but that day he left without saying a word. Everyone was very disappointed and sad. After a short while, he suddenly came back, and all of us rejoiced. The Great Master said,
I wanted to go away, but knowing that many of you have false thoughts, I came back.
The Great Master gave a lively and cheerful speech. At the end, he announced,
I am going to leave you all.
That sentence saddened all of us. The Great Master preannounced his departure from this world so that we would be prepared. Those who have not made the Bodhisattva resolve need to take a giant step up. Those who are already walking on the Bodhisattva path need to be earnestly perseverant, courageous, and determined.
The first time I went to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I saw the Mountain Gate painted in red and black colors. Inside this Gate, there were several big trees, and it was very peaceful. I suddenly remembered that I had seen similar scenes in my dreams more than twenty years ago; and I became devoted to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas with all my heart. Although I did not know the Chinese language and could speak only limited English, without being afraid and intimidated, I wished then that I could be at this monastery to cultivate the Bodhi path. The Great Master's kindness and compassion were exceptional in this world. He used all possible means to cross over living beings, the intelligent as well as the ignorant.
The Great Master's Birthday was celebrated in Long Beach in 1993. That year the bad weather made me very ill. My heart was weak, so I went to Long Beach to recover. Since I could not take care of myself, other nuns attended upon me compassionately. We slept on the lower floor; the Master stayed on the floor above us. One night I dreamed that I was drinking water from a small cup made of cinnamon shells. The clear water was so sweet and fragrant. I looked around the room; there was no one but the Master sitting at the end of the table, while I was near the middle of this table. Since then my health improved, and I became even stronger than before. I could handle more religious tasks afterwards.
I kept remembering what the Great Master had announced to us and was worried about the day when he would enter the Nirvana; the whole world would then face even more calamities and people would be even more afflicted. We would lose a great teacher and a compassionate father. He was equally kind and compassionate to all people, regardless of their nationality, social class, religion, reputation, and wealth.
When the Great Master got sick, I was very sad. One night I dreamed that I was standing in front of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and the Great Master was riding a bicycle coming from the monastery toward me. He looked healthy and active. After passing through the Mountain Gate, the Great Master stopped, got off his bike, and talked to a man working at the Gate. I've never seen the Great Master riding any bicycle. Seeing him riding a bicycle meant that he wanted to let us know that he was still healthy and could work normally, as if he were not sick at all. He only appeared sick to teach us and remind us to recognize the impermanence of the four transitory phases of life (birth, old age, sickness, and death). The Great Master wanted all of us to extricate ourselves from suffering and become Buddhas. He incurred sickness and endured misery for us. Because human beings are still sick, the Great Master became ill to save our souls. I told a nun about this dream. She asked the Great Master about its meaning, and he said that our interpretation of this dream was right.
About six or seven years ago, there was an American gentleman who came to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas with his lovely three-year-old son. He asked me to help his son take refuge with the Great Master. After the ceremony, he thanked me and was very happy. He explained to me the meaning of his son's Dharma name. I said to him, "Your son is very fortunate. He is only three years old but has already taken refuge with the Great Master." He smiled. Later I saw him, his wife, and his son again at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. His wife was very happy to see me. Although she had just met me, she spoke to me as if we were old friends. She told me that her son recited "Namo Buddha" and then "Namo Master" a couple dozen times every night before going to bed. At the meal offering, I saw this American gentleman kneeling in front of the Great Master and reciting the verse for repentance and reform. He was reciting and crying at the same time. He later told me that because his son had been unmanageable, he had beaten his son to death. He was then so afraid that he prayed to the Great Master, who was not even there, and his son miraculously revived. At that time, I fully understood why he had so sincerely wanted his son to take refuge with the Great Master; the Great Master had saved his son's life.
At one time I was very sad seeing that one of my own children was totally preoccupied with the secular world and did not want to cultivate. I thought that I would ask the Great Master the next day to let me go to Taiwan--a very distant place－to see whether my child would wake up. At night, in my dream, I saw the Great Master come to where I was standing. I held onto his arm as we walked toward a small house. The Great Master took a key from his pocket and opened the door. I saw some garbage near the entrance; the interior of the house was dim. I was still holding onto the Great Master's arm. I saw a small can on the floor. Worrying that the Great Master might trip over the can, I kicked it away so hard that I woke up. The small and dim house with garbage in front represents the secular world. It is small and dirty, as compared to the vast, bright, and peaceful state of Nirvana. The Great Master once said that:
Those who left the home life and stayed at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas had done this in past lives several kalpas before, not just in this lifetime. Those who meditate together at the monastery have also met each other in previous kalpas.
This means that whether we are the Master's left-home and lay disciples, we have all followed the Master many kalpas before. We vowed to follow the Great Master to help him propagate the Buddhadharma and save living beings; that was why the Great Master took us to this world (the small house). Opening the door with a key means that the Great Master opened the Buddha way. Holding onto the Great Master's arm means that we vowed to help him. All the various tasks of speaking Dharma, translating sutras, teaching, working in the office, cooking in the kitchen, and gardening are done for the sake of propagating the Buddhadharma and saving living beings. They are all considered the Bodhisattva conduct. When I woke up, I did not want to go to Taiwan anymore and was no longer sad.
One day before the ceremony commemorating the forty-ninth day after the Great Master entered Nirvana, I dreamed that at the left side of the Long Beach Monastery, there were three flags flying in the sky with lacing around them. The two flags on either side were pinkish-violet; the one in the middle was light yellow with a picture of the Great Master in a dark yellow robe. The Great Master had a happy, kind, and compassionate smile on his face; he was wearing recitation beads and did not have a black scarf around his neck. Seeing the Great Master with a happy smile is an auspicious sign; maybe the Great Master could foresee that his disciples would unite to continue his work to propagate the Buddhadharma. Although the Great Master has entered Nirvana, we still have the Buddhadharma and the six great principles (no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no self benefit, and no lying) to follow so that we can achieve the Bodhi fruit.
He is constantly happy contemplating still quiescence
Characterized by one mark and non-duality.
His mind does not increase or decrease,
While he manifests spiritual powers
Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter Nine, Light Enlightenment